NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • How World Bank policies led to famine in Haiti


    TRNN REPLAY - Raj Patel: International trade rules have ravaged Haiti's domestic food production -   April 17, 2008
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook



    An awesome daily supply of genuine, un-spun world news - Chris Attwell
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Precis

    Food riots in Haiti caused the deaths of five people last week, including a UN peacekeeper, and forced the country's prime minister out of office. The country is "a place of terrible turmoil," Raj Patel, of UC- Berkeley's Center for African Studies, tells The Real News Network. Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, lays the blame for Haiti's dire situation at the feet of the global trade system, which has forced Haitians to buy imported food staples, despite the existence of a once-robust agricultural economy.

    Transcript

    How World Bank policies led to famine in HaitiVOICEOVER: Brazilian soldiers handed out food to the residents of a shantytown in Haiti on Tuesday in the calm after the rioting over food prices.

    HAITIAN WOMAN (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): I'm happy that the Brazilian soldiers are giving food; we have a terrible food situation in this country.

    VOICEOVER: No country has escaped the effects of escalating wheat and rice prices. The poor nations like Haiti have been hardest hit. The Real News spoke to Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System, about the factors driving the food crisis in Haiti.

    RAJ PATEL, AUTHOR, "STUFFED AND STARVED": Haiti at the moment is a place of incredible turmoil. For months, people in Haiti have been going hungry. There have been stories of people there eating mud cakes, cakes made of margarine and soil and salt, to keep hunger at bay. The recent rises, particularly in the price of rice, have tipped people over the edge. And last week, five people were killed in protests: four protesters and a UN peacekeeper. And over the weekend, the prime minister of Haiti was voted out of office by a special session of the Senate. There's such endemic poverty that people can't afford to eat. That poverty is a result in part of US policy and in part to do with the economic policy of the regime in Haiti. In '94-'95, there was a coup against President Aristide. Bill Clinton made a deal, saying, "Look, Aristide, we'll get you back in power, but only if you liberalize your economy." And so this means, very specifically, getting rid of tariff protections around wheat and around rice. Farmers are being absolutely driven out of business by US rice that comes with subsidies and with all kinds of agri-, you know, support policies. And the tragedy is that we need farmers now more than ever. There are ways of buying food locally as food aid and distributing it locally. That's a much better short-term solution than shipping things all the way from Canada. But in the medium term, policies that support local agricultural production and that allow people on low incomes to access food effectively are the kinds of policies that are required. And, unfortunately, those are the kinds of policies that are illegal under the World Trade Organization rules as they stand at the moment. The reason that you haven't been hearing the World Bank, for example, sounding the alarm about this is that the World Bank has been precisely responsible for generating the kinds of free trade economic policies that have led to this situation. And I find it profoundly ironic that the response of the head of the World Bank, a man called Robert Zoellick, is it's absolutely urgent that we liberalize trade even further, so that food is available to poor people. [Inaudible] this as an opportunity to further deliver the same medicine that sent this message in the first place. In the international aid agencies, it was inconceivable that we could be going down a road that looked different from a basic neoliberal strategy. As a result of that and a result of policies that make markets freer, we're seeing the market doing exactly as it should and discriminating against people who can't afford to eat.

    DISCLAIMER:

    Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    48th Anniversary of the Founding of the Black Panther Party
    Why Are Republicans Linking Ebola & U.S-Mexican Border? (1/2)
    Culture of the National Security State - Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself (5/5)
    Does Iran Have Legitimate Nuclear Energy Needs?
    Behind America's Store Fronts - Drugs, Homelessness and Abandonment
    Protests at St. Louis University - TRNN Reports From Ferguson
    Why Are Stock Markets So Volatile?
    The Islamophobia of "Homeland" - Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself (4/5)
    U.S. Will Fail In Attempt to Create Proxy Army in Syria
    Emissions Reduction Impossible without Demilitarizing Foreign Policy
    Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire - Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself (3/5)
    Pollution Inequality and Income Inequality
    Whose Interests Are Served by Occupy Hong Kong?
    Ebola - Myths and Reality
    Cornel West, Faith Leaders and Activists Arrested as Ferguson October Continues
    Fighting the Demonization of Muslims - Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself (2/5)
    A Momentum Sparked Beyond Ferguson
    Federal Court Weighs Gitmo Force-feeding
    Thousands Descend on St. Louis for Ferguson October
    US and Iran are Indirectly Coordinating Efforts against IS
    Privatization, Occupation, and the Israeli Economy
    How Socialist China Became the Workshop of the World (2/2)
    Media Cry Foul as Obama Attacks Freedom of the Press
    Will Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution Spark Uprisings in Mainland China? (1/2)
    Journalist Gary Webb Gets the Last Word in "Kill the Messenger"
    Islamophobia and a Challenge to Bill Maher - Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself (1/5)
    "Undue Force" and Police Brutality in Baltimore
    Does Turkey Want Kobane to Fall?
    Global Warming Reducing Fisheries and Destroying Livelihoods
    Baltimore Mayor and Police Commissioner Unveil Supposed Action Plan to Reduce Police Brutality

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting